2015 Hall of Fame class: Johnson, Martinez, Biggio, Smoltz
Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
Johnson, nicknamed The Big Unit for his towering 6-foot-10 frame, was one of the most feared pitchers in the game during his prime. His dominant fastball and filthy slider guided him to five Cy Young awards, including four in a row from 1999 to 2002. In 2001, Johnson shared World Series MVP honors with Curt Schilling in the Arizona Diamondbacks' seven-game series win over the New York Yankees. Johnson played for six teams in his career before retiring after the 2009 season. He finished with 97.3 percent of the Hall of Fame vote.
Joining Johnson is Martinez, an eight-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young winner. He received 91.1 percent of the vote. Martinez played an integral part of the 2004 Boston Red Sox team that won the franchise’s first World Series in 86 years. His 1999 season with Boston remains one of the greatest pitching seasons in modern baseball history. Martinez finished 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, en route to a unanimous Cy Young and a second-place finish in MVP voting. He retired after the 2009 World Series, in which he pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Rounding out the trio of power pitchers in the 2015 class is Smoltz, the longtime Atlanta Braves pitcher who was at separate times in his career among the game’s best starting pitchers and closers. Smoltz finished with 82.9 percent of the Hall of Fame vote. He started regularly through 1999, helping the Braves to a World Series win in ’95 and earning a Cy Young in 1996. After Tommy John surgery, Smoltz became a full-time closer in 2002 and promptly recorded 55 saves, a then-National League record. He returned to Atlanta’s starting rotation in 2005. He retired after 2009 with more than 3,000 strikeouts, 200 wins and 150 saves.
Biggio enters the Hall of Fame in his third year on the ballot after receiving 82.7 percent of the vote. He spent his entire 20-year career with the Houston Astros, playing catcher, second base and outfield. He became the 27th player in MLB history to join the 3,000-hit club in 2007, and the first in Astros history. He’s the only player in baseball history with 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs. He also retired with 285 hit-by-pitches, the most in MLB history.
Mike Piazza finished with 69.9 percent of the vote, making him the closest player to the 75-percent threshold for induction who didn't get in. Next were Jeff Bagwell, who finished with 55.7 percent of the vote, and Tim Raines, with 55 percent.
- Rohan Nadkarni